We all realize that having a healthy, bright, beautiful smile boosts self-esteem and allows us to smile with confidence. Thanks to the advances in modern cosmetic dentistry, teeth and smiles can be improved with quick, painless—and surprisingly affordable—treatments. From changing the size or shape of teeth to replacing missing ones, our dentists can help ensure you’re smile is perfect for whatever comes next.
Jeffrey D. Rhody
Matthew T. Pruhs
Implants and bridges are used to replace missing teeth. Our porcelain bridges offer a custom-shaped, fixed solution that can last years, and can usually be placed in two appointments. Implants are artificial teeth that are made-to-order are placed through a surgical procedure that requires a number of visits over several months, but provide a long-lasting solution for missing teeth or change the shape of your mouth.
We offer a variety of porcelain-based solutions and composite fillings that can correct broken and cracked teeth, or improve your overall smile so you can maintain your confidence at home and at work, usually with only two appointments.
Tooth whitening, sometimes called bleaching, is a simple, non-invasive treatment used to change the color of your natural tooth enamel. It’s an easy way to enhance the brightness of your smile, usually with only two visits. We use a whitening method that uses custom-sized trays to deliver the whitening solution. Patients usually wear the trays twice a day for 30 minutes or overnight for a couple of weeks.
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Bleaching lightens teeth that have been stained or discolored by age, food, drink, and smoking. Teeth darkened as a result of injury or taking certain medications can also be bleached, but the effectiveness depends on the degree of staining.
Composite (tooth-colored) Fillings
Also known as “bonding”, composite fillings are now widely used instead of amalgam (silver) fillings to repair teeth with cavities and also to replace old, defective fillings. Tooth-colored fillings are also used to repair chipped, broken, or discolored teeth. This type of filling is also very useful to fill in gaps and to protect sensitive, exposed root surfaces caused by gum recession.
Veneers are thin custom-made, tooth-colored shells that are bonded onto the fronts of teeth to create a beautiful individual smile. They can help restore or camouflage damaged, discolored, poorly shaped, or misaligned teeth. Unlike crowns, veneers require minimal tooth structure to be removed from the surface of the tooth.
Porcelain Crowns (caps)
A crown is a tooth-colored, custom-made covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size. Crowns protect and strengthen teeth that cannot be restored with fillings or other types of restorations. They are ideal for teeth that have large, fractured or broken fillings and also for those that are badly decayed.
Dental implants are artificial roots that are surgically placed into the jaw to replace one or more missing teeth. Porcelain crowns, bridges, and dentures can be made specifically to fit and attach to implants, giving a patient a strong, stable, and durable solution to removable dental appliances.
Less visible and more effective brackets and wires are making straightening teeth with orthodontics much more appealing to adult patients. In some cases, teeth can be straightened with custom-made, clear, removable aligners in place of braces.
What can I do about stained or discolored teeth?
Teeth color has become the number one aesthetic concern of many patients, and there are many products and methods available brighten your smile.
Professional teeth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile. Over-the-counter products are also available, but they are much less effective than professional treatments and might not be approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).
As we age, the outer layer of tooth enamel wears away, eventually revealing a darker or yellow shade. The color of our teeth also comes from the inside of the tooth, which can become darker over time. Smoking and fluids such as coffee, tea, and wine can also contribute to tooth discoloration, making teeth yellow and dull. Sometimes, teeth can become discolored from taking certain medications as a child, such as tetracycline. Excessive fluoridation (fluorosis) during tooth development can also cause teeth to become discolored.
It’s important to have your teeth evaluated by your dentist to determine if you’re a good candidate for bleaching. Occasionally, tetracycline and fluorosis stains are difficult to bleach and your dentist may offer other options, such as veneers or crowns to cover up such stains. Since teeth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is also important to evaluate any old fillings, crowns, etc. before bleaching begins. Once the bleaching is done, your dentist can match the new restorations to the shade of the newly whitened teeth.
Since teeth whitening is not permanent, a touch-up may be needed every several years to keep your smile looking bright.
The most widely used professional teeth whitening systems:
At-home products usually come in a gel form that is placed in a custom-fitted mouthguard (tray), created from a mold of your teeth. The trays are worn either twice a day for approximately 30 minutes, or overnight while you sleep. It usually takes several weeks to achieve the desired results depending on the degree of staining and the desired level of whitening.
In-office treatment is done at our office and you will see results immediately. It may require more than one visit with each visit lasting 30 to 60 minutes. While your gums are protected, a bleaching solution is applied to the teeth. A special light may be used to enhance the action of the agent while the teeth are whitened.
Some patients may experience tooth sensitivity after having their teeth whitened. This sensation is temporary and subsides shortly after you complete the bleaching process, usually within a few days to one week.
What are veneers and how can they improve my smile?
Porcelain veneers are very thin shells of tooth-shaped porcelain that are individually crafted to cover the fronts of teeth. They are very durable and will not stain, making them a very popular solution for those seeking to restore or enhance the beauty of their smile.
Veneers may be used to restore or correct the following dental conditions:
Are amalgam (silver) fillings safe?
Over the years, there has been some concern about the safety of amalgam (silver) fillings. An amalgam is a blend of copper, silver, tin, and zinc, bound by elemental mercury. Dentists have used this blended metal to fill teeth for more than 100 years. The controversy is due to claims that the exposure to the vapor and minute particles from the mercury can cause a variety of health problems. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), up to 76% of dentists use silver containing mercury to fill teeth. The ADA also states that silver fillings are safe and that studies have failed to find any link between silver containing mercury and any medical disorder.
The general consensus is that amalgam (silver) fillings are safe. Along with the ADA’s position, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization, the FDA, and others support the use of silver fillings as safe, durable, and cost effective. The U.S. Public Health Service says that the only reason not to use silver fillings is when a patient has an allergy to any component of this type of filling. The ADA has had fewer than 100 reported incidents of an allergy to components of silver fillings, and this is out of the millions of silver fillings placed over the decades.
Although studies indicate that there are no measurable health risks to patients who have silver fillings, we do know that mercury is a toxic material when we are exposed at high, unsafe levels. For instance, we have been warned to limit the consumption of certain types of fish that carry high levels of mercury in them. However, with respect to amalgam fillings, the ADA maintains that when the mercury combines with the other components of the filling, it becomes an inactive substance that is safe.
There are numerous alternatives to silver fillings, including composite (tooth-colored), porcelain, and gold fillings. We encourage you to discuss these options with your dentist so you can determine which option is best for you.